From terraces to low-rise blocks to high-rise complexes, Sydney buyers are spoilt for choice.

Apartment living today has more than its fair share of highs and lows – and everything in between.

From tall towers in the city, low-rise developments on the north shore, inner south, inner west and west to ground-level townhouses almost everywhere else, and from five-level blocks to medium rise, developers now cater to every taste.

”We’re finding particularly today that a lot of people like terrace-style apartments,” says Daniel Mok of Raine & Horne Chinatown, who is having huge success marketing a boutique development of three-storey townhouses in front of a six-level building of 34 apartments on the same strata plan in Botany.
”Townhouses can offer courtyards or gardens at both the front and the back, which is particularly good for young families. Also, it’s the kind of design attractive to empty-nesters who are more used to houses and feel this is a good compromise.”

His Green View Park, with views of the greens of the Eastlake Golf Club, is being developed by a group of private investors and was designed by architect the Moderinn Group. Due for completion in October or November, it also has the bonus of parking for two cars and additional storage for each home.

But at the other end of the scale, there has also been strong demand for apartments in a new 20-level, 160-unit high-rise being built as part of the Village Quay development at Rhodes. Part of a complex that will eventually include two 24-level towers and two five- to six-storey blocks, adding up to 750 units, VQ: Shores, with views over Homebush Bay to the Blue Mountains, has been proving extremely popular.

”I think a lot of people look for security these days, and high-rise can offer that, as well as good views,” says Peter Gray of developers the Billbergia Group.

”The Chinese market in particular prefers high-rise, as that’s what they’re used to historically.

”Younger people also don’t want to have to mow lawns every weekend, they want to enjoy themselves in their spare time rather than doing chores, while downsizers like being able to lock [their homes] up and go off on holiday without worrying.”

In addition, large high-rise developments can have the bonus of lower strata levies, as communal costs for shared facilities, such as pools and gyms, are shared over a much wider base of apartment owners. VQ: Shores doesn’t have those kind of facilities, so for an average two-bedroom apartment levies tend to be a comparatively low $600-$900 a quarter – attractive to owner-occupiers and investors alike.

But there are still plenty of people who choose low- to medium-rise apartments, particularly in areas that haven’t seen much high-density development. In Bonnyrigg, for instance, in Sydney’s south west, the new Virtue Apartments has just been launched, a project of 49 units over four and five levels.

”Most of that area consists of two- and three-storey development, so anything higher really wouldn’t suit the streetscape,” says Marwin Rahme, the managing director of developers the Kanebridge Group.

”Most people living there, which is a nice little pocket between Fairfield and Liverpool, are more used to house and land or townhouses, so to try and build a 10-storey development, for example, wouldn’t work in the market, either.

”People like to live in a small complex, which can feel more like a home, and investors often feel more comfortable.”

Still remaining at Green View Park, Myrtle Street, Botany, are four townhouses (133 sq m with courtyards from 40 sq m and balconies 29 sq m); one two-bed-plus-study apartment (101 sq m) $650,000; and four three-bed penthouses (130 sq m-136 sq m) from $929,000. See greenviewpark.com.au, phone 0411 331 366.

 

Taking the time to find the perfect room with a view

When Swiss-born Claudia Sprent arrived in Sydney seven years ago, she spent six months searching for a home to buy.

She ruled out apartment buildings she felt were too high or too low. ”For me, living high up in a high-rise is like living in a helicopter; hovering over, but detached from, life below,” Sprent, 64, a retired interpreter, says.

”If you’re too low, street noise becomes a problem and you don’t get views, and if you’re on the ground floor, bars on your windows make you feel like you’re living in jail. I looked for a compromise.”

She settled on the 18-floor Ikon in Potts Point.

”I’ve never looked back from that decision,” she says.

”My apartment is filled with sun, air and views. It offers a perfect balance between my needs for privacy and connectedness to a stimulating community. And while the building looks big on the outside, it has a great feel inside, and I’ve made many friends here.”

Sprent previously lived in the US, France and Germany, as well as in Switzerland. But now her apartment is definitely home.

”It’s also well managed,” says Sprent, who volunteers regularly at the nearby Wayside Chapel. ”And the area is beautiful, diverse and thriving. I could not think of a better place to live.”

 

Or try these

VQ: Shores, Village Quay, Rhodes
”With high-rise, people just love to sit on their balconies looking at the view with their morning coffee or with a drink in the evenings,” Peter Gray says. Still available are one two-bedroom (85 sq m) $704,000; and six three-beds (101 sq m) from $1,122,000. The threes are on the top levels facing west, with either enclosed 23 sq m wintergardens with windows or 19 sq m balconies. vqshores.com.au, phone 1300 551 123.

Virtue Apartments, Bonnyrigg Avenue, Bonnyrigg
The block has shops opposite, commercial properties on the ground floor and a transit way close by. For sale are five one-beds (65-82 sq m) from $290,000; three one-plus-study (84 sq m) from $315,000; 15 twos (94 sq m-115 sq m) from $359,000; and five twos-plus-study (115 sq m) from $375,000. virtueapartments.com.au, phone 1300 526 327.

Article by Susan Wellings
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